white man's burden


the alleged duty of white colonizers to care for nonwhite indigenous subjects in their colonial possessions.

Nearby words

  1. white lotus,
  2. white lung,
  3. white lupine,
  4. white magic,
  5. white mahogany,
  6. white mariposa,
  7. white market,
  8. white marlin,
  9. white matter,
  10. white meat

Origin of white man's burden

after a poem of the same title by Rudyard Kipling (1899)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for white man's burden

White man's burden


the supposed duty of the White race to bring education and Western culture to the non-White inhabitants of their colonies
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for white man's burden

white man's burden

A phrase used to justify European imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; it is the title of a poem by Rudyard Kipling. The phrase implies that imperialism was motivated by a high-minded desire of whites to uplift people of color.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.